Lets spend as little time on the weather as possible and to comply with the editorial rules which prefer me not to use inappropriate language, we will say its been below par and surely the real spring is just round the corner?

Over the past few years and likely via learning through my off farm volunteer commitment to Farmstrong Scotland I have become more

aware of the impact that weather has on me and my mood and what I need to do to combat this. I need sun and like many people struggle throughout the winter months but find that exercise does help and I need to think about how I fit it in to my working week.

However it would be fair to say I have a love hate relationship with exercise and chocolate, when I get the balance right things are rosy but when I’m ‘under the pump’ as the kiwis would describe our workload throughout the spring, things can go wrong.

For me from mid-march till the end of April my wee world changes, disrupted sleep patterns, long days and short fuses lead to poor eating choices and less time off farm than I’m used to and by the time May arrives habits have been formed that sometimes take a little breaking.

Every year post lambing we sit down and make a list of what we could do better next year and for me last year was about taking things a little easier which I would say I have managed to do with the help of an excellent team which has allowed us to spread the work load.

Don’t get me wrong the Easter bunny still arrived, and lets be sensible the fridge is always stocked with light refreshment for a slight wind down at the end of the week and the occasional school night seeing as it’s the Easter holidays.

I have managed to nip away for a swim and a couple of gym sessions a week which has certainly helped maintain an element of balance in body and certainly in mind and hopefully these healthy habits can be maintained.

Other than that, my off farm trips have been severely limited but I did make the big sale of ewe lambs in Dingwall last week, my word was it worthwhile, I’ve never seen sheep sold like it, to say the trade was on fire would be an understatement.

In one of our better management decisions we decided to run the ewe hoggs through the shedder, pulling out anything that looked at us the wrong way for departure and were delighted with trade as I’m sure all vendors were.

With hoggs making money like that now, what will store and breeding sales look like in the autumn and should we wait, the temptation is very strong to cash more now but we will try and resist and bring our usual consignment of gimmers to the market place in August.

It seems that the price is being driven by demand for product which is in scarce supply and while this is great our antipodean cousins are receiving extremely poor prices at the moment. There’s a voice in my head saying don’t worry about them just focus on what we are getting but in reality we need prices which are sustainable throughout the world. We need strong demand for lamb and mutton which as the world’s population grows will form part of a balanced diet.

It will be interesting to see if recent record prices for prime lamb and cull ewes help stabilise the national flock, stemming the decline we have seen in recent years brought about by various factors. Trees, rising input costs, lack of profitability and a shortage of skilled labour will have all played their part but the heat seems to have subsided a little in the tree market, input costs have also eased and the job is certainly more profitable.

That just leaves labour and given the quality of the lambing team we assembled this year there does seem to be talent out there. If folk like Cammy Wilson of ‘The Sheep Game’ fame keep banging the drum making shepherding cool more will follow as optimism returns.

On a final note I was speaking to farmer friend the other day, he’s a little older than me and is wise beyond his years so I tend to listen but we were chatting weather amongst other things.

He said that if there was one characteristic he could wish for his children to have it was optimism, which I thought was spot on.

It sums up the approach needed to tackle the challenges we often face as an industry and indeed the sheep sector, especially in a challenging spring.